The GP of a Constantine man who took his own life has criticised the "fragmented" mental health care in Cornwall, saying that "patients are bounced between services."

Benjamin Colin Williamson died at the age of 27 on April 4 of this year after struggling with mental health and alcohol issues.

His mum had checked on him just after midnight, and the next morning found that her son had taken his own life.

His GP, Dr Ben Ashmore from Mullion & Constantine Group Practice, spoke at Mr Williamson's inquest in Truro today (Thursday November 8), saying that he had had no correspondence from either the Addaction or Freshfield addiction services since 2015, even though he had been having regular appointments.

He said: "The mental health service in Cornwall seems very fragmented. Adult mental health is not put on the same footing as physical health.

"There are a variety of mental health services, and I feel on occasion that patients are bounced between services.

"The family and GP are left holding this responsibility."

He went on to say: “The NHS is investing in free WiFi in waiting rooms which has not been asked for, but the money has not been put into core services.”

Assistant Coroner Andrew Cox agreed that there were faults with the system, but also made it clear that these were not the cause of Benjamin's death as, by all accounts, his mental health seemed to be improving in the weeks before his death.

He likened the situation to that of a cancer sufferer, saying that hospital departments would not hesitate to communicate with each other for the good of the patient.

He said: "I don't see why it should be any different with Addaction."

Despite this, Mr Cox added: "We can't say that any difficulties with the mental health team are causative."

Robert Daniel Dawes, operations manager for Addaction, admitted that there was a "failure" in the service's communication with Benjamin's GP, saying: "a letter was sent by the GP and we should have responded."

Mr Dawes explained that the reason for the lack of communication was to do with the service's patient confidentiality agreement, although he admitted that there was no hard evidence that Benjamin did not consent to have the information shared with his GP.

He said: "We should have reviewed consent every time. I can't say hand on heart that's what happened, but it would have been asked."

Dr Ashmore responded by saying: "It concerns me a little bit that Addaction may be taking a slightly more defensive role on confidentiality."

Assistant coroner Andrew Cox concluded by saying: "It's absolutely fair that [Addaction are] only allowed to provide information with the client's consent.

"However, I think it could have been better communicated. In that modest way, I hope that something can come out of this.

"What else could this have been? Do I think it was a cry for help that went wrong? No I don't. I think it's more likely than not that Benjamin took his own life."